17 Apr 2015

Last call for Wellington's Basin Reserve

11:40 am on 17 April 2015

Today is the final day for Wellingtonians to have their say on a proposed revamp of the city's historic Basin Reserve.

An artist's impression of the re-developed Basin Reserve in Wellington.

An artist's impression of the re-developed Basin Reserve in Wellington. Photo: SUPPLIED / WCC

Hopes of retaining the ground as a top cricket venue have been outlined in the Wellington City Council's long-term plan.

View the proposal for the venue's redevelopment (PDF, 455KB)

Under the proposed redevelopment, floodlights would be installed to allow night games, a carpark would be upgraded and a grandstand might be demolished.

The council has budgeted $21 million for the project.

The deputy mayor, Justin Lester, said the ground needed to keeps up with increasing competition from other world-class venues such as Hagley Oval in Christchurch and Nelson's Saxton Oval.

"I think the Basin Reserve first had cricket played at it in 1868. It's got a very storied past. It's been ranked as one of the top 10 cricket grounds in the world," he said.

"Everyone knows its heritage and the picturesque setting - but it's a bit rundown at the moment so we want to invest in it to make sure we get it up to scratch."

Mr Lester said the council was looking at a range of options.

"Some things aren't guaranteed. We're looking into options, for example, whether we earthquake-strengthen the Museum Stand or whether we pull that down ... whether we replace it with a tiered embankment and have things like a playground and greater public space and trees to beautify that area."

According to the [http://www.our10yearplan.co.nz/our-big-ideas/venues/basin-reserve-redevelopment/

council's website], nearly 60 people have commented on the council's proposal with 86 percent of the feedback in support of it.

One submission, from "John", said the cricket ground was the best in New Zealand.

"It has been sadly neglected and it is great to see some serious attention given to it. The character of the ground is the village feel and setting, not the buildings; make sure they are well-maintained and fit to host internationals."

Another, from "Matthew, Karori", said: "I am excited to see the Basin finally getting some much needed attention. A true gem for the city and love the idea of enhancing the village green feel. Not concerned about the Museum Stand itself if we can have an upgraded basin we can be proud of."

There were some concerns that the $21 million price tag was too high, with one anonymous post describing the proposal as nonsense.

"It is spending money on a project for a ground which often has more gulls than spectators (I am one of those few spectators who bothers to attend Firebirds matches). The T20 matches are now consigned to the [Westpac] Stadium for Sky and even the test matches don't sell out, so why would we need upgraded entrance/ticketing?

"Significant money was put into the basin a few years ago to move the warm-up wickets off the pitch to make it ICC compliant and now the hands are out for more ... it is like blackmail ... it will never end."